Get to know the key figures at the center of what could have been a commute-crippling Long Island Rail Road strike. A deal on Thursday, July 17, 2014 kept 5,400 LIRR union workers from walking off their jobs. On a typical weekday, the LIRR serves more than 300,000 rides on about 735 trains traveling to and from Long Island. This list details some of the influential players in the standoff, and their roles.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo(Credit: AP)
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday, July 16, said "we must do everything we can" to avoid an LIRR strike, adding that a work stoppage would hold Long Islanders "hostage." Soon after his statement, the MTA and LIRR union representatives returned to the bargaining table. Cuomo is seen here giving his nomination acceptance speech at the state's Democratic convention in Melville on Thursday, May 22, 2014.
MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast(Credit: Craig Ruttle)
Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Thomas Prendergast is seen here arriving to negotiate with LIRR union representatives in Manhattan on Thursday, July 10, 2014. At right is Anita Miller, MTA director of labor relations. While Prendergast's role in the negotiations was originally seen as a "good sign" by LIRR union leaders, he was not able to overcome the deadlock in his first negotiation sessions.
Union negotiator Anthony Simon(Credit: Craig Ruttle)
It's a scene that's played out too often in recent weeks. The LIRR unions' lead negotiator Anthony Simon, center, walks away after talks with the MTA break down. Here is he pictured with LIRR union representatives Ricardo Sanchez, left, and Christopher Natale on June 27, 2014. Following the agreement that averted a strike, Simon said the deal was about the riders, the financial stability of the railroad and members of the eight LIRR unions.
LIRR Commuter Council chairman Mark Epstein(Credit: Craig Ruttle)
Mark Epstein, chairman of the LIRR Commuter Council, said following the agreement that all riders feel relief. "We are encouraged by Governor Cuomo's assurances on fares and the MTA's ability to fund its Capital Program," he added. Epstein talks to commuters Michael Calabrese, left, of Merrick, and his brother Dominick Calabrese of Ronkonkoma, right, at Penn Station on Monday, June 23, 2014.
Congress(Credit: Charlie Archambault)
While Congress has the authority to push back a strike deadline under the Railway Labor Act, Long Island's congressional delegation advised all parties not to expect any intervention. From left, Reps. Steve Israel, Peter King and Tim Bishop on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
President Obama(Credit: AP)
In May 2014, a mediation panel appointed by President Barack Obama recommended an agreement with 17 percent wage hikes over six years. The panel's proposal would mean first-time health care contributions, but no pension-plan or work-rule changes. The MTA later announced it had come back with a proposal for 17 percent worth of raises, but over seven years rather than six.
LIRR riders(Credit: Nancy Borowick)
An LIRR strike had the potential to cost the economy of Long Island and New York City up to $50 million per day, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli estimated on July 15, 2014. About 300,000 Long Islanders ride the commuter rail daily.
Local business owners(Credit: Newsday)
Heather Freiser, owner of My Beach Baby in Long Beach, was concerned about the potential economic toll an LIRR strike would have had on her business. Newsday recently spoke with business owners and officials across Long Island about the financial impact of a strike.